Thursday, March 19, 2015

Revisit to Dad's first job in Santa Monica

 This picture is from one of my first postings from March 2013 and has my dad Joe "JL" Kerr at the gas pumps of a service station in Redondo Beach, California in 1940.  While not part of his first job story, it is an interesting picture of the times.

Well, it seems like I left out an important part of the “Auto Laundry” story. My cousin Jim reminded  me about the story of what Dad went through to get his first job in California. I  looked in my OM Monk file and found his transcribed version of Dad's job hunt and added a rather long winded version of one of my job hunts.  Here it is as told by Dad's friend OM Monk:

"Seeing a Help Wanted sign at the Auto Laundry, JL inquired about the job. He was asked if he knew how to steam clean an engine? Of course he said yes, even though he had never steam cleaned anything. This answer seemed to satisfy the question and he was told to start the next morning. Now JL needed to figure out how to operate the steam cleaner. So he found another steam cleaning business and asked to watch the operation. A few hours of watching them fire up and use the kerosine burning steam cleaner and JL was ready for his first day of work."

And it seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree. I had a similar experience when I landed my first welding job. I returned from my job cooking hamburgers at Hamilton Stores in Canyon Village, Yellowstone Park in late September 1962. I had graduated the past June and returned to late to start at at our local Jr College, so I began to hunt for a job. My high school Mechanical Drawing teacher Irv Glushenko told me about a welding job with American Rolling that was run by a friend of his. I went for an interview and was hired. I knew how to arc weld and to gas weld, but he was looking for a Tig welder. I of course told him I could Tig weld even though at the time I did not know what Tig meant.

He surprised me by having me start that very moment by asking me to go with him to the welding supply house and help him purchase a Tig welder. Unknown to me was the fact that he had no welding equipment and one of my tasks would be to set up the welding shop. Luckily the salesperson was a hands on guy and he pretty much knew what was needed in the price range we gave him. He demonstrated the welder on some scrap aluminum and then handed me the torch. I was truly nervous but having seen that it was kind of like gas welding only with an arc, I proceeded to give it a try. After sticking the tungsten arc a couple of times I put down a short little bead and told my new boss that this piece should do the job.

I worked there until September 1963 when I enrolled in the Welding class at the Jr College so I could truly learn how to weld and prepare to get certified.


  1. I remember Mr Glushenko very well. Lost a leg in Korea I believe. He was a great innovator in administering swats if you didn't clean up correctly the day before in mechanical drawing. He customized a boat oar, which he drilled holes in the paddle part to cut down air drag on the way to your butt. Not too many people dumb enough to repeat an infraction with him. Also a great and patient teacher.

    1. For sure Frank. I got more than my share of his swats.